(Wyo)-Appeals Court Rules Against Wyo Trespass Laws
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled that two Wyoming laws penalizing people specifically for trespassing to collect data about natural resources could violate freedom of speech.
A 3-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that just because somebody is violating the usual laws against trespassing doesn't mean their free-speech rights aren't protected. The judges returned the case to a lower court to decide if the laws violate free-speech protections.
The Wyoming Legislature passed the similar laws in 2015 to discourage environmental activists from gathering data on ranchland. Environmental groups and a photographers' association sued, and they're praising the appeals court ruling, saying the laws are unconstitutional.
Gov. Matt Mead spokesman David Bush says attorneys for the state are reviewing the ruling and preparing for the next phase in the litigation.
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